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Telecom Alert : July 31, 2017- NTIA IoT Security Update; CAF II; RUS Broadband Access Loans; FirstNet Update; DSH Awards $900,000 Drone Research Grant

NTIA Releases IoT Device Security Update

Last week a multi-stakeholder group established by the NTIA approved a four-page document that advises IoT device manufacturers on how to convey available security updates to consumers.  The document encourages manufacturers to convey device update abilities prior to purchase, including how updates will be delivered and the dates when they will be offered.  The document is reportedly the first of four that the group plans to release to help manufacturers make IoT devices more secure. 

CAF II Lined up for Aug. 3 FCC Open Meeting

FCC Chairman Pai announced in a blog post that the Commission will consider a number of items focused on closing the digital divide between rural and urban America at the August 3 Open Meeting.  In particular, “the Commission will consider a Public Notice to initiate the pre-auction process for the Connect America Fund Phase II auction.”  The CAF II auction will award up to $198 million annually for 10 years to service providers that agree to provide voice and broadband services to fixed locations in unserved high-cost areas. 

RUS Opens Applications for FY17 Broadband Program

The Rural Utilities Service announced last week that the group will begin accepting applications for the second round of the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee program for FY2017.  The group plans to award at least $60 million of the annual total of $115.2 million during the second round.  Applications are due by September 30.  The Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee program, established by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) “furnishes loans and loan guarantees to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide service at the broadband lending speed in eligible rural areas.” 

FirstNet Update

West Virginia became the seventh state to commit to allowing AT&T and FirstNet to build and maintain their radio access network (RAN) last week.  In Vermont, however, state Senators requested an extension of the comment period for the state’s FirstNet State Plan, which ended on July 24.  The Senators also encouraged the Governor of Vermont, Phil Scott, to simultaneously seek an extension of the 45-day comment period on state plans established by FirstNet.  They cited a lack of transparency and information from FirstNet as the source of concern, stating that much of the relevant information critical to making an opt-in decision was labeled as proprietary and therefore eliminated public input.  At the FCC, AT&T opposed Verizon and other parties who seek a ruling from the Commission that opt-out states have the lawful option of a state core, subject to interoperability requirements with the FirstNet core. 

DHS Awards $900,000 Grant for Drone Analysis

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate awarded a $928,541 research and development contract to VTO last week to “increase law enforcement capabilities to identify, collect and analyze evidentiary data from consumer and professional drones.”  The award is part of the S&T Cyber Security Division’s (CSD) Cyber Forensics project, which is responsible for developing innovative, cost-effective cyber forensics solutions that help law enforcement keep pace with emerging technology.  The project focuses on establishing new capabilities to help law enforcement conduct forensic investigations of digital evidence from various devices such as mobile phones and automobile infotainment systems.

© 2018 Keller and Heckman LLP


About this Author

C. Douglas Jarrett, Keller Heckman, telecommunications lawyer, procurement law

Douglas Jarrett joined Keller and Heckman in 1979. Mr. Jarrett specializes in telecommunications law, policy and procurement matters.

Mr. Jarrett is a recognized expert in representing enterprises in negotiating telecommunications services agreements with the major wireline and wireless carriers, domestically and globally.  He also advises enterprises on M2M services, cloud computing and IVR technology procurements. 

Mr. Jarrett represents technology companies in securing amendments to the FCC rules to enable the...

Gregory E. Kunkle, Keller Heckman, regulatory attorney, FCC lawyer

Gregory Kunkle joined Keller and Heckman in 2006. Mr. Kunkle practices in the area of telecommunications, with an emphasis on assisting corporate clients and trade associations with various legal and regulatory matters before the Federal Communications Commission.

Mr. Kunkle regularly counsels critical infrastructure companies, such as electric utilities, oil and gas companies, and railroads, public safety agencies, and commercial providers regarding FCC wireless licensing and compliance issues.  He assists clients in identifying and acquiring wireless spectrum through a variety of means, including spectrum leasing, purchase and sale of licenses, and the FCC's auction process. His spectrum acquisition practice spans all of the FCC’s wireless frequency allocations, including the 220 MHz band, AMTS (217/219 MHz), VHF/UHF Part 22 Paging, the 1.4 GHz band, Part 90 800/900 MHz bands, MAS, the 2.5 GHz EBS/BRS band, and the 700 MHz band.

Mr. Kunkle counsels clients that become involved in the FCC's enforcement process including by responding to and vigorously defending against complaints and investigations and, where appropriate, negotiating settlements with the Commission. 

Thomas B. Magee, Keller Heckman, transactional counsel, litigation attorney, FCC law, safety violation lawyer

Thomas Magee joined Keller and Heckman in 2000. Mr. Magee provides regulatory, transactional and litigation counsel to investor-owned electric utilities, electric cooperatives and municipalities regarding pole attachments and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensing of private wireless telecommunications services.

Mr. Magee has helped to resolve dozens of pole attachment disputes affecting make-ready costs, safety violations, unauthorized attachments, annual rental rates and other terms and conditions of access. He negotiates,...

Tracy Marshall, Keller Heckman, regulatory attorney, for-profit company lawyer

Tracy Marshall joined Keller and Heckman in 2002. She assists clients with a range of business and regulatory matters.

In the business and transactional area, Ms. Marshall advises for-profit and non-profit clients on corporate organization, operations, and governance matters, and assists clients with structuring and negotiating a variety of transactions, including purchase and sale, marketing, outsourcing, and e-commerce agreements.


Wesley K. Wright, Keller Heckman, Telecommunications Lawyer, FCC Enforcement Attorney, DC

Wesley Wright joined Keller and Heckman in 2006 and practices in the areas of telecommunications law.  He assists corporate clients and trade associations with various legal and regulatory matters before the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, courts and state agencies.

Mr. Wright’s practice includes private wireless licensing, FCC enforcement, and related transactional matters.  He counsels clients on internal operations and governance matters and has drafted and negotiated asset purchase agreements,...